3Now that the Spring Equinox has passed, the mornings and evenings are both getting lighter as Spring has truly arrived.  Maybe you’ve been thinking it’s high time for a declutter and clean to give both your home and mind a fresh start. But just where do you start? Here are a few tips to help you get going.

  • Create a checklist for each area of the house – to help you organise your mind as well as your tasks. And how great does it feel when you can tick things off your list?
  • Make it a family activity because spring cleaning should not be a one-person job! Get your family involved and make a list for each person based on their ability level and preference.
  • Focus on one area at a time as you’ll get more done, more effectively, by focusing on one room/area at a time. Don’t try to multitask during cleaning, it can take you longer to get things done.
  • Declutter – don’t be afraid to get rid of stuff that no one uses anymore. Set up “sell”, “donate”, and “trash” piles and then revel in all your new space!
  • Organise because it goes without saying really, an organised home can reduce stress levels and create a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Deep clean – yes, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and give your home a thorough scrubbing. Start with washing the inside of kitchen cabinets and drawers, cleaning the carpet, windows, ovens, blinds, and fridge. Once those are done, move to vacuuming, dusting, mopping, etc.

But wait, stop, before you start to clean…

Did you realise that many of the cleaning products found in our homes contain toxic substances that are harmful to both our health and our environment?  Three of the worst offenders are:

  • Ammonia: a very effective degreaser and glass cleaner but its fumes are also highly irritating and it’s poisonous to aquatic life (when poured down the drains)
  • Chloride bleach: corrosive and caustic, which is why it’s used for drains but, again, is harmful for the environment
  • Formaldehyde: found as a preservative in many air fresheners, which is one of the many reasons why you should make the switch to diffusers.

So what’s the alternative?

Well, luckily, making your own DIY cleaning products is cost-effective, easy, good for you, and good for the environment. A few household ingredients really are all you need to make your own, highly effective, cleaning products: baking soda, borax, lemon juice, solid or liquid castile soap (ie, soap made with olive oil, not animal fats), olive oil, white wine vinegar, washing soda crystals, and, of course, essential oils.

Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils

I’m a passionate believer that we should all be using essential oils, which support both our health and well-being at the same time.  Essential oils are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants and are well known for their natural ability to protect against environmental threats, remove odours, and clean really well..  Some of the most popular and useful essential oils in this respect are: Lemon, Melaleuca, Rosemary, Orange, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Pine, and Thyme.  And they all leave behind a pleasant aroma that will instantly make your home feel clean and refreshed too – win, win.

Making your own

Here are some of my favourite DIY cleaning product recipes using essential oils for you to try out at home:

Oven cleaner

½ cup salt
¼ cup washing soda or borax
¼ cup water
¾ cup white vinegar
10 drops Thyme essential oil
10 drops Lemon or Lemongrass essential oil

Combine the salt, washing soda and baking soda in a container, adding just enough water to make a paste. Preheat the oven for 15 minutes, then turn off, spread the paste over walls, and leave for 30 minutes. Combine the vinegar and essential oils in a spray bottle and shake. Spray over the walls, wipe clean, and rinse.

Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils

All purpose cleaner

1 cup water
1 cup white wine vinegar
2 tsp liquid castile soap
15 drops of your favourite essential oil, eg. Lemon, Peppermint, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Thyme, Rosemary.

Add all the ingredients into a glass spray bottle. The soap will clump a little between uses so shake it well before spraying onto surfaces to degrease, then simply wipe off.

Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils

Window and mirror cleaner

1/4 -1/2 tsp liquid castile soap (optional)
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 cups water
10 drops essential oil of choice, eg. Peppermint, Lemon, Orange

Pour all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake, spray on to the surface, and buff to a shine.

Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils

Wood & stainless steel polish

2tbs olive oil
2 tbs white wine vinegar (optional)
10 drops Orange or Lemon essential oil

Combine all the ingredients, use a soft cloth to wipe on then buff surfaces to a shine.

doTERRA have some great recipes too

Here are a few more for you to have a go with.

Powder cleaner

2 cups borax
1 cup baking soda
½ cup salt
20 drops Lemon essential oil

Combine all the ingredients into a large bowl and stir until combined, then decant into a shaker bottle.  Tip: use an old spice or Parmesan cheese shaker as your shaker bottle. To use, dampen the surface and sprinkle the powder over area you want to clean. Let it sit for 15–30 minutes. For an extra cleansing boost, spray distilled vinegar onto the powder too, and then simply wipe clean.

Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils

 

Soft scrub for baths, tiles, and toilets

¾ rounded cup baking soda
¼ cup unscented liquid castile soap
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
5–10 drops Lemon essential oil

Combine the baking soda and castile soap in a bowl, add the water and stir well.  Add the vinegar and essential oil and mix to a soft paste.  Store in an airtight container. This soft scrub is excellent for getting rid of soap scum, removing stains, and brightening your tiles and toilets. Just apply and let it sit for 5–10 minutes and then scrub. Once done scrubbing, take a wet cloth and wipe clean.

Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils

Natural laundry detergent
2 cups washing soda
2 cups borax
1 bar grated castile soap
25 drops of your favourite essential oil single or blend (eg. Lemon or Lavender)

Mix the washing soda, borax, and grated castile soap together. Then add your essential oil, mixing to combine.  Use ¼ cup per laundry load and store the rest in an airtight container.  You may not see much foam but your curtains will be beautifully clean and fragrant!

Points to remember

As with all cleaning products, test in a small hidden area first if possible. Keep all your DIY products well-labelled, avoid contact with eyes, and keep them out of reach of children and pets.  It’s also a good idea to wear gloves while you clean – citrus oils, for example, will react badly on your skin in sunlight.  And prolonged contact with vinegar is no good for anyone’s hands!

Will you make the change?

So what do you think? Have you ever tried any of the recipes above, or do you know someone who has? If not, do you think you’ll be making the change from harmful chemically-based cleaners to more healthy, natural, vegetarian, organic, and cruelty-free alternatives?

Some other reasons to consider: you are in charge of what scent you use in your cleaners. And you can almost certainly save a lot of money by making your own products too.

I agree, using DIY products with essential oils won’t transform cleaning into a joyous process, but as you inhale and enjoy the aromas of your new cleaners, you may feel a little more relaxed, uplifted, and refreshed.  And at the very least your home will smell amazing!